Archived March 20, 2020 – Be Part of Creating a Strategy to Grow Canada’s Worker Co-op Movement

by Russ Christianson

Over the next few months, Dominique Bernier, Cathy Lang and I will be working with CWCF board members and staff, members of worker co-operatives and co-op developers to co-create a strategy for scaling Canada’s worker co-op movement. In addition to CWCF insiders, we will engage key opinion leaders inside and outside of the broader co-op movement, including social entrepreneurs, unions, community development organizations, anti-poverty organizations, economic activists, Chambers of Commerce, Community Futures Development Organizations, and Municipal EDOs.

We’re excited to be using Loomio – a worker co-operative Internet platform– that encourages dialogue, document sharing and decision-making. Loomio is designed to be user-friendly and to engage people with the use of decision-making tools such as Check and Dot Voting polls. The software also provides multi-language support and includes a comment translation. The combination of discussion and decision-making is Loomio’s unique advantage.

Over the course of the strategic planning process, CWCF will be encouraged and supported to face and discuss some challenging questions:

  • Why have worker co-operatives not taken off in Canada over the last ten years?
  • What seeds of success here in Canada can be harvested and built on?
  • What can we learn and apply from other countries that have built strong worker co-op movements?
  • What priorities will be determined through the strategic planning process?
  • What strategic internal capacity work will be necessary for CWCF to own and implement the strategic priorities?
  • What will the impact be on CWCF member services and expectations, and how will tensions between outward and inward facing work be managed?
  • What will be the true costs and risks associated with the planned priorities?
  • Where will the resources to implement the plan come from?

Discussion of these and other questions will be imperative in creating the strategy and will provide a reality check on the core vision and mission of CWCF and its ability to carry out an innovative plan. Any capacity development (staffing, funding, cultural change, member education, partnership development, etc.) will be added to the plan as one or more strategic pillars.

In the coming weeks, we’ll be inviting CWCF members to join one or more Loomio discussion groups. Watch for summaries of stimulating articles and “wicked” questions about current economic, social and ecological trends, and how these may impact CWCF’s successful strategies for marketing and scaling worker co-operatives.

We’re looking forward to this work with you. Ultimately its success lies in your willingness to be part of the process and make it your own.